20-Miler Dutifully Notched Up

I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’d promised to get a decent long run in this weekend. With everything that can derail such plans, I could only plan for it and hope time and logistics allowed. In spite of a 3am disturbance from the boy and thanks to my heroic other half taking him into the spare bed, the 6am alarm rolled round and the house was quiet.

I swear I could be a damn good burglar with so much practice at creeping out of the house without any sound. At first glance I look ridiculously meticulous in my laying out every bit of my kit by the bed, even filling my bottles and running vest before I go to bed. In fact, it’s to give me no excuse whatsoever to roll over and sleep for another hour or so.

Kit on, I left into the dark. You can tell winter is slowly being ousted since there was already a light in the sky at 6:15. This meant I didn’t really need my head torch to see but I still had it for visibility. Not that many people are weird enough to be up and out on a Sunday morning at that time.

I wanted to keep it really relaxed and consistent as I’d not done 20 miles for a long time. Given I need to up the mileage more over the next few weeks I wasn’t in the mood to finish off my legs. I took it nice and steady to my turn around point at Brackley lake, a very tidy 10miles away on the nose. The benefit of an early start (and it’s hard to think of any in the first 5 minutes after you get up) is that you can sit and have a drink and banana with views like this:

Brackley lake sunrise, 10-mile point

Having seen nobody for the first 10 miles, I was put out to share the lake with what seemed like the entire angling force of Northamptonshire. They looked at me like I was odd too.

The run back was a bit tougher as it was generally more uphill. Partly because I’m a wimp, I’d genuinely have thought twice about this route had I known this was the elevation profile beforehand:

All the same, the sun was out, I had snacks and I carried on taking it nice and easily. Now the sun was up, the countryside was all the more satisfying to run through. I love an early sun through trees and there was a lot of this on my route back:

After about 28 or 29k, my legs started to feel pretty punished. They’ve not had to work for this long for a while and they were well ready for breakfast. I always think it’s cruel to have to run back into our village at the end of such a long run when you just want to get home and recover. Why’s that? By this time, the village is full of dog walkers keen to say hi with their fresh faces and breakfasted, cheerful demeanours. The willpower to complete a 20-miler is closely matched by the willpower needed to stay composed and give the dog walkers as cheerful a hello as they give you when your legs are ready to drop.

Anyway, spritely greetings dished out, I finished the run and was really chuffed. 32k in all and 70k for the week. We’ve got a bit of momentum going now. The legs were fine after a nice hot shower. Whether they’ll be just as fine after 26 miles in 2 weeks’ time, time will tell!

Have a great running week all 🏃‍♂️💨


  1. The hills look tough. I admire your ability to get out and run 20 miles by your self. I usually do my long runs with my running club, but have managed a few 10+ mile runs from my house by my self.
    After the first five minutes, it’s not so bad!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, once the first few minutes has passed, it’s like no other run! I think I’d find it easier from a motivational point of view with a running club – I’ve just not managed to find one that fits in location and timing wise yet. Until then I’m building up my early morning willpower!!


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